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Figyua na anata [2013] Takashi Ishii

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Kentaro is a lonely loser and geek. When he’s fired from his job, he also loses his dignity. At his lowest moment he goes out on the town to drink away his misery when he wanders into an abandoned building in the heart of the pleasure district. There he finds a pretty girl doll with skin so soft and warm to touch. Her skin is so lifelike that he can see the veins under the skin… but it is a doll without a heartbeat. In his muddled consciousness, the man sees the doll turn into a cyborg girl and save him from thugs. The doll becomes his guardian angel with a demonic twist as she fulfills his fantasies by becoming a cyborg girl, a swan-lake ballerina, and his girlfriend. This hallucinatory and erotic romance fulfills the man’s final erotic desires. Who is she really? And where will their romance lead them…?

Director Takashi Ishii’s always had a misanthropic streak, but in Figyua na anata, he lets it fly with his critique of otaku (let’s just say Japanese male) culture. In this tale, freshly fired Kentaro (Tasuku Emoto) drunkenly disses a bull dyke and her girlfriend. In his escape he stumbles upon a pair of cocaine-dealing thugs and their necromantic boss – plus a pile of mannequins that include a somewhat alive one (Kokone Sasaki) resembling a “sexy” otaku figurine. She saves him from a grisly fate. The first half rolls out with low-budget grindhouse urgency going through tons of blood, sex, rape and other unpleasantries. It’s engaging, if disquieting. Ishii is a solid filmmaker with a baroque flair. But when Kentaro bring his mannequin prize home, the Figyua na anata takes on different twist. He obsesses on her vagina. He rapes her. He goes through a series of otaku fantasies. What’s real? What’s not? Ishii keeps the viewer on tenterhooks until his last cynical image and the song Love Me Tender ends the adventure. ~ Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2013

AKA Hello, My Dolly Girlfriend

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